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Barenaked singer gets dismissal

If Barenaked Ladies singer Steven J. Page stays out of trouble for the next six months, misdemeanor drug charges filed against him in connection with an incident near Syracuse this summer will be dismissed, a Syracuse-area judge ruled Tuesday.

Fayetteville Village Justice Thomas J. Miller approved a request for an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal for Page and two women arrested with him -- Stephanie M. Ford, 25, and Christine M. Benedicto, 27, both of Fayetteville.

Each of the three underwent an evaluation before Miller granted the motion, and all have agreed to comply with conditions set by the court and Onondaga County district attorney's office that will include a program of random drug testing over the next six months.

"Based on each defendant's exemplary behavior and positive attitude from the beginning, I fully expect in six months time this will be over," said Page's attorney, Mark J. Mahoney of Buffalo.

Mahoney said Page was not given special treatment as a celebrity, noting that it is common for defendants facing misdemeanor charges to receive an ACD.

"Mr. Page was at least as deserving of the granting of this motion as any other lesser-known individual in the same circumstances," Mahoney said.

Page, 38, of Toronto, and the two women were arrested July 11 after Manlius police on patrol in the village of Fayetteville came across what was suspected to be cocaine and marijuana in and around the women's East Genesee Street apartment.

Original felony charges against Page and Ford were reduced to misdemeanors by the district attorney "based on the results of a laboratory analysis." The laboratory determined that the suspected cocaine was of a "small quantity and low quality," according to Mahoney.

Mahoney cited Page's "completely clean record and reputation" as the impetus for the ACD.

He also cited Page's and the Barenaked Ladies' use of their success and talents in supporting charitable organizations such as children's hospitals across the United States and Canada as well as the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the White Ribbon Campaign that fights violence against women.

e-mail: tpignataro@buffnews.com

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